Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Running ??

One year ago today, I stepped out into the frigid winter weather and ran and walked a few laps in the fields behind my home, following an iPhone app call C25K (couch to 5k). It is designed to prepare you to run a 5k within 7 weeks. It was miserable, all seven weeks of it, but after seven weeks, I ran a cold 5k at Camp Creek State park, finished in 17 minutes and placed second in my age group. I've kept it up for a year now and can say now I am a runner. A year ago, I said that "I hike. period."  But after the charity race that I started this whole thing for was over, I noticed that my blood pressure, which had moved from normally low to the high side of normal, was back to low again. And, my resting pulse rate is now in the 50's. I do not run miles and miles, usually 5-9 a week.
        This year I've ran over 250 miles, 11 5k's and a five miler. In my age group I have two 2nd's a 3rd, a 4th and two 5th place finishes. In a couple of small races, I have a 2nd male overall and 2nd overall. I consistently finish 5k's in 25 minutes or so.
Tonight, my one year anniversary of that first run, I went back into the same field with an inch of snow and 20 degrees and ran a lap. It was as miserable as I remember, but, I can now do it without stopping to rest every few minutes. The health benefits are hard to ignore so, I will continue to run, but will always hike and enjoy walking in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. I will be unstoppable on those long hikes and steep hills with wildflowers behind every tree.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good by 2015

So ends another year. I began this blog three years ago to document how many wildflowers I could find, identify and photograph in West Virginia in one year. In 2013, I found and photographed 308 different wildflowers. In 2014, I added another 25. This year I added eight, they are coming slower now, but I know there are many more out there. I've recently been exploring a couple of farms that I oversee for our school system. Both have many acres of fields and woods that should have many interesting wildflowers. Two days ago, I found this Common Yarrow blooming in the uncommon warm weather that we have had so far.  I've already seen dire predictions of terrible consequences of the weather. Some are saying we should not gather any ramps this year, others that say there will be no fruit trees blooming this year and etc. I think everything will be just fine; sure maybe the apples will be fewer but maybe the Pad Leaf Orchids that haven't bloomed in my woods for three years will be back. 

My best new find of the year was Loesel's Twayblade in June, which makes 22 orchids 
photographed, in West Virginia, for this blog. I know of others that I just haven't gotten to yet. 

Fernleaf Phacelia in April and some water wildflowers this fall were other highlights. 

                                     Fernleaf Phacelia

Giant Bur-Reed

Water Smartweed

So, as 2015 closes, there is much to look forward to .
I pray that you all have a blessed 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I have more hobbies than I can keep up with.
My favorite quote about hobbies is by Steve Martin

"When your hobbies get in the way of your work - that's OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves... well...”"

As this year winds down, I found time to attend to several hobbies at once. 
First, The weather has been unseasonably warm  and while exploring an old farm I found a really nice wildflower,Common Yarrow, in full bloom. I have heard several accounts of wildflowers in bloom but this was my first sighting.

Then on another old farm I kept my eyes open for old bottles and came up with this one from the 1960's.

Then I broke out the metal detector and found a few items including an 1898 Indian Head Penny.
My oldest ever find.

A couple of headstamps. (The brass part of older shotgun shells that were made of paper)
This one dates between 1920 & 1950                  This one from 1950's to 60's

And an  ax head 

Plus hiked for several miles and enjoyed the days enormously.
Winter is around the corner but there is always oppertunities for enjoying a hobby, or two, three, four??

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall Ramble-Sandstone Falls

Spent a wet, cool Saturday morning with my dad at Sandstone Falls, which are the largest waterfalls on the New River within the New River Gorge National River. There is a boardwalk crossing to two of the islands with terrific views of the river. Even though winter is at hand, there is much to explore and see, even on a grey day. I found an Aster still in bloom and many colorful sights.

West Virginia has beauty in every season if you are willing to get out into some less than idea weather .

I wanted to get there last month because I had heard there are native persimmons there, a native fruit. It was a little late in the season but I was able to find them and even though they were mostly mush, they had a great taste and I was able to take a few seeds home. I also found one that was still too hard to eat, but I tried and got a full taste of the astringent property that causes severe puckering. Which I can now say is the truth. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 2015 - North East West Virginia

On a recent trip to the North East of West Virginia I was able to see some interesting places

The first was Cranesville Swamp on the border with Maryland.This area is similar to Cranberry Glades a little further south.

 It is Fall now and there was little in bloom, but I did find a Nodding Lady Tresses in perfect bloom and it was very fragrant as well 

I also saw Northern Picture Plant

Cotton Grass

And a new Wildflower for me: #341-Flat-Topped Aster  Doellingeria umbellata

A historical site was Boundary Stone #18, one of the stones put in place by court order in 1910 to finally settle a century old boundary dispute

The next day I visited Cathedral State Park, the home of West Virginias last stand of Virgin Timber
The Hemlocks there are pretty awesome

One the road back I stopped to read a historical marker about the B & O Viaduct and was amazed to see the viaduct up the hill. It was built in 1852 and were attacked by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
I was able to scramble up the hill and walk around them some. The stones are handcut and at the base at least 10 feet long. Amazing engineering in the 1800's and still going strong today.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 2015 Wildflowers

Enjoying early Fall West Virginia Wildflowers.
Here are a few highlights

                                                                   Nodding Ladies Tresses


                            These are from a field near my home that has hundreds 
                                           of these Nodding Ladies Tresses each year


                                                                Great Blue Lobelia


                                  Blue Stem Goldenrod, Orange Jewelweed, Bushy Aster

                                   Tall Rattlesnake Root
                                     Tall Rattlesnake Root


                                                                Burr Marigold


             Huge hornets nest over the doors of a seldom used (I presume) church near Zenith, WV


                             View from the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory near Zenith, WV


A small flock of migrating Bulbats (Common Nighthawk) flitted around my home for a couple hours one evening last week. An interesting sight, but hard to photograph 

                             A grandson tries paddling. He did catch a couple of fish.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Water and Wildflowers

Another kayak trip results in another wildflower first. I took my new kayak to a small local lake, presumably to fish a little. While paddling around the shoreline, I saw several nice Wildflowers plus this new one.
Water Smartweed (polygonum amphibium).
                                    #340 - Water Smartweed 

Others from the trip:
                           Arrowhead - A Water Plant 

              Cardinal Flower lobelia cardinalis